2016 Reading Challenge, Part 2 of 4

As promised, here comes Part 2 in my 4-part Series of the 2016 Reading Challenge! Today we pick things up with Challenge #4…



Read a book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller. Since I work in a bookstore, I know my local bookseller very well… she’s my boss! She has been raving about a book by a local author, Ellen Marie Wiseman, for a long time. In particular, Ellen’s second novel, What She Left Behind. It tells the stories of two female characters: Clara, who is a young debutante in the Roaring ‘20s, and Izzy, a teenage girl who’s been in the foster system since her mother killed her father ten years ago. Clara’s father is very controlling. (She blames him for the suicide of her older brother.) When becomes romantically involved with an Italian immigrant, Bruno, and refuses to marry the “proper” young man her father has chosen for her, her rich, powerful father has her committed to an insane asylum. No one there believes her claims that she is perfectly sane… and also pregnant. As for Izzy, she has always refused to read the letters her mother has sent her from prison over the years, and has never visited her in jail. When her foster mother asks her to help her with a museum project, Izzy reluctantly complies. The task is archiving items from the long-closed insane asylum where Clara was a patient. When Izzy comes upon a bunch of old love letters written to Bruno but never mailed, she becomes determined to find out what happened to Clara… and her baby. Wiseman intertwines the two stories with precision. This story is full of mystery, intrigue, tragedy and triumph. I highly recommend it!!!!


wiseman book


A book you should have read in school: Hmm… this sort of implies that maybe I skipped a reading assignment in one of my High School, English classes??? I never did that! I remember reading Where the Red Fern Grows, The Catcher in the Rye, The Scarlet Letter, Wuthering Heights, Romeo and Juliet… and the list goes on! I didn’t necessarily like them all, but I completed every one. So I tried to think of a book that’s considered a “classic” which was never assigned to us at Mattituck High School.I decided upon The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. One reason I chose this book is that it takes place in a fictionalized version of the Hamptons, and me being a Long Island Girl, I felt almost obligated to read it. It’s a compelling, juicy little book, full of illicit affairs, extraordinary opulence, tragedy and deceit. The shocking ending puts the cherry on the cake of this Great American Classic.


A book chosen by your spouse, partner, sibling or BFF. Oddly enough, my ex-husband picked this one out for me. It’s a true story called Dying to be Me, by Anita Moorjani. Now, there have been LOTS of books written over the years about Near Death Experiences. Some have been made into movies. Some stories have since been recanted by those who made their Heavenly claims. I found this book to be not only believable, but fascinating. Anita was dying from a stubborn form of cancer (lymphoma) that had resisted both traditional and alternative medical treatments. Instead, it spread throughout her body. The doctors told her family that there was nothing more they could do. Moorjani fell into a coma, during which she claims… Well, read the book to find out! But here is the miraculous part: her cancer WENT AWAY!!! The doctors could not explain it! Just a few weeks after her terminal diagnosis, she was declared officially cancer-free. Anita Moorjani now travels the world as a motivational speaker.


Stay tuned for Part Three, as I continue my 2016 Reading Challenge!



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